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Oil production cuts are on the table. Here’s what that might mean for Alberta





Premier Rachel Notley says the plunging price of oil has become a crisis for Alberta, and she’ll announce a short-term solution on Sunday evening.

CBC political analyst Graham Thomson said he’s under the impression Notley will impose mandatory cuts to oil production.

“If she wasn’t going to do anything, she wouldn’t be going to this great length to try and soften us up beforehand,” he said, highlighting a letter Notley wrote about the struggling industry.

“She’s trying to show Albertans that she is doing all she can to … raise the price of oil.”

Notley said 35 million barrels of oil are sitting in storage, unable to make it to market because pipelines are congested. Oil is being sold at “fire-sale prices, around $10 a barrel” to get it moving.

This isn’t just the NDP being the nanny state and imposing its will on the free market.– Graham Thomson, political analyst

There are two short-term solutions for reducing the stockpile and closing the price gap, Notley said: Let the free market “sort itself out” or temporarily restrict oil production.

Both the United Conservative Party and Alberta Party are in favour of curtailing production.

“This isn’t just the NDP being the nanny state and imposing its will on the free market. This is the NDP backed by other parties, notably the United Conservative Party,” Thomson said.

“If this doesn’t work out as planned, they’re all going to share in the blame. But if it does work out as planned, they’ll all be trying to claim the credit for this.”

Pipelines: the problem and solution

The Federal Court quashed cabinet approval of the Trans Mountain expansion project this summer. (Dennis Owen/Reuters)

Notley is expected to announce whether the province will intervene or let the free market handle the differential on Sunday at 6 p.m. MT. 

Barbara Engelbart McKenzie, executive director of the Leduc-Nisku Economic Development Association, said a production cut isn’t ideal.

“Making a cut doesn’t promote capital investment. It’s not going to promote growth in the sector. It’s not going to get new projects started,” she said. “It’s just going to … deal with what we’re facing today, which is the large differential.”

The best-case scenario would be getting more pipelines built — a solution that requires federal backing, she said.

In her letter, Notley said the province will keep fighting for pipelines, which are the long-term fix for increasing the price of oil.

University of Calgary economics professor Trevor Tombe said congested pipelines are the root of the problem, noting more expensive transportation methods like railcars are used when pipelines are at capacity.

“It’s that added transportation cost that’s really behind the widening differential that we’ve seen recently,” he said.

Possible downsides

Notley noted there isn’t an industry consensus on whether a production cut is the right move.

It could help some producers by increasing prices, said Richard Dixon, a professor with Athabasca University’s faculty of business. But he noted it could also hurt refineries who benefit from lower prices, as well as smaller producers not anticipating a cut.

“For Suncor and other companies that have refineries that have the front end and capacity, Shell and others, this is going to hurt. Because right now, they’re able to turn a very good profit,” Dixon said.

“So who are we helping and who are we hurting? The premier alludes to that, [but] it needs to be a lot deeper.”

Tombe noted the effects of potentially curtailing production will depend on the details anticipated to be announced on Sunday.

CBC will livestream Notley’s announcement on Facebook and online on Sunday at 6 p.m. MT.


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Real Estate

The cost of renovating your bathroom in Toronto in 2021





Home renovations can be a big task, especially bathroom renovations where you have to work with either an awkwardly shaped space, or one with lots of pipework and very little natural light.

Nonetheless, getting a bathroom renovation by Easy Renovation to change your existing bathroom layout, improve the ambience or add more natural skylights can be worth all the trouble. But determining how much a bathroom renovation would cost is important while setting a budget.

The pandemic has changed a lot of things with social distancing rules, working from home, and for some, being made redundant. Therefore, having a complete grasp of the financial implication of a bathroom innovation is very important.

Owning your dream bathroom can be made a reality and the good thing is, regardless of your financial situation, there are always available options. If you also decide to put up your property for sale in the future, a bathroom upgrade would be a great investment—as it would add significant value to the property. Your bathroom renovation project, like every home renovation, can either be very affordable or extravagant, but one thing is certain, you’re bound to have a more refreshed, stylish and modernistic space.  

Looking through detailed sketches of luxurious and expensive bathrooms can be quite tempting, especially when you’re on a budget. However, your bathroom can be equally transformed into something that looks just as modern, stylish and refreshing but without the heavy price tag.

Conducting a partial bathroom renovation means you only have to change a little part of your existing bathroom rather than tearing it down and starting from scratch. If you intend to carry out this type of bathroom renovation in Toronto, depending on the size of your bathroom, you can spend between $1,000 – $5,000. With a partial bathroom renovation, you can save money by tackling smaller problems that exist in your present bathroom—or you can just upgrade a few of its features.

Partial bathroom renovations are quite affordable and would leave your bathroom feeling new and stylish without being time-consuming or a financial burden—which is important considering the economic impact of the pandemic. Repainting the bathroom walls, replacing the tiles on the floor and in the shower area are examples of partial bathroom renovations which is the cheapest to accomplish.

A more expensive and popular bathroom renovation is the standard 3- or 4-piece renovation. This renovation type involves a lot more services that are not covered by a partial renovation budget. To execute a standard bathroom renovation in Toronto you need a budget of about $10,000 – $15,000.

Unlike with a partial renovation, you would have to make a lot more changes to various elements of your bathroom without the hassle of changing the overall design. You can easily restore your current bathroom into a modernistic and classy space that fits your existing style. Making changes to more aspects of your bathroom is quite easy since there is more room in your budget to accommodate it.

A standard 3- or 4-piece renovation includes everything in a partial renovation plus extras such as revamped baseboards, installing a new bathroom mirror, buying new lights, installing a new vanity, changing the toilet, and buying new shower fixtures.

If you’re one of those looking to make a complete overhaul of your existing bathroom, then the option of a complete bathroom remodel is for you.

Unlike a bathroom renovation, remodelling means a complete change of your current bathroom design and layout for one that is newer and completely unrecognizable. The possibilities when remodelling a bathroom are endless especially when you have a large budget of over $15,000. That way, you can get the opportunity to create the perfect bathroom for yourself.

In addition to all that’s available with a standard bathroom renovation, bathroom remodelling allows you to make bathtub to shower conversion, relocation of plumbing, relocation of the toilet, reframing the bathroom and even relocating the shower.

In conclusion, a bathroom renovation can be a very important upgrade to your home and depending on the features that you decide to include, in addition to the size of your bathroom, this would influence the total cost of the project.

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Real Estate

7 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers In Calgary





Buying a house for the first time can be overwhelming to say the least. If you’re wondering what neighbourhood to go with, what you can afford, or even how to just get started on the process, let us take some stress off your hands! We’ve teamed up with Hopewell Residential to give you 7 tips to ensure the home you end up with is everything you dreamed of.

Hopewell Residential is a five-time Developer of the Year award winner, so their expertise is second-to-none in Calgary and beyond. Who better to learn home-buying tips from than the homebuilders themselves?

Create a checklist of needs & wants

This is a biggie. When you’re buying your very first home, you’ll want to weigh your needs vs. your wants. Ensuring you have what you love in your first home is a big, big deal.

What should you do? Easy. Set up a list of needs and a list of wants, but be pretty strict with yourself, and make sure you take your lifestyle into consideration. With the increase in remote work over the past year, it’s important to keep in mind that a home office or flex room might just be the key to maximizing at home happiness. Especially if you’re thinking you might be expanding your family later on, spare rooms and extra space is key (but more on that later!).

Or for instance, you might need a home in an area with a high walkability score, but you want to be close to certain amenities. Set yourself up with the right level of compromise and the number of homes that actually fit your ‘perfect’ idea will skyrocket.

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Real Estate

‘Don’t give up’: Ottawa Valley realtors share statistics, tips for homebuyers in ‘extreme’ sellers market





The real estate market in the Ottawa Valley can be summed up this way: people from far and wide are in a buying frenzy, but there’s hardly anything to buy at the “store,” and the limited inventory is overpriced.

This “stampede” — as one realtor described it — will affect rural towns as residents grapple with finding affordable housing and agonize over their inability to purchase homes in their price range.

“We are seeing a lack of inventory in all price ranges,” said Laura Keller, a real estate agent from Carleton Place.

Helen Vincent, a Renfrew realtor, said she’s never seen a market like this in her 36 years of practice. “We postpone offers for four to five days in order to get all the buyers,” she said.

Multiple offers — between seven and 10 — became the norm, with cash offers and no conditions, as buyers faced bidding wars. “In Ottawa, they have up to 50 (offers),” she added.

“It’s very stressful. You’re going to get nine (people) ticked off, and one happy. So many people are disappointed,” Vincent said.

Terry Stavenow, an Arnprior realtor for 40 years, said that “the pent-up need took over with inventory going low. It made a stampede on everything that was available.“

“Brand new housing — it’s very much gone. Several building developers are rushing to get inventory. They usually don’t do construction in the winter months,” said Stavenow.

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